Oh, La Paz. I was almost seduced by your sophisticated, worldly older sister, Mazatlan; and by your tropical, playful sister, Puerto Vallarta. But my heart still belongs to you. No big hotels, no cruise ships, no time-share salesmen, just a no-nonsense Mexican city, which dare I say it, is becoming kind of hip! Street art, farmers markets, and organic coffee shops are springing up right alongside the taco stands and traditional tiendas, but fortunately La Paz has not lost its laid-back vibe or become too expensive.
The other day we went to town, stopped at the bank to get pesos, got my watch band replaced, had Dan’s shoe repaired (while we waited), ate some empanadas at the Bravo Street market, bought some tortillas, and I got a haircut. We were back on the boat 2 hours later, having spent a grand total of $15.
This was our third time visiting La Paz, and it has been a delight every time. This time we were able to get a berth at Marina de La Paz, located just steps from the malecon and the heart of La Paz. To get a slip requires a reservation with a cash deposit. Some people make reservations a year in advance for December which is the busiest month. We made our reservation 4 months in advance, and ended up on the wait list, but ultimately got in. It is hugely popular because the American owners know what you want and they provide it – well maintained docks,
reliable internet, and potable water on the dock. This is one of only two marinas on Mexico’s entire Pacific coast with potable water on the dock. There is also a restaurant/bar, laundromat, convenience store, and a clubhouse with book exchange, DVD rentals and 5 peso (25 cents) coffee every morning. No wonder people get here and never leave – we have met many people that have been here for 10-15 years, hence the shortage of transient slips.
We have made the most of our time here. Of course the first order of business upon arrival to La Paz is a trip to Rancho Viejo. Just a block up from the marina, Rancho Viejo is a La Paz institution. It has been here for at least 20 years, selling grass-fed beef by the kilo or in taco form. Over the years they have added another restaurant location and extended their hours to handle the hungry 24 hours a day. We can each have two tacos with all the trimmings and a beer for about $8.
I attended two weeks of intensive Spanish classes at El Nopal, a local language school within walking distance of the marina. My speaking has really improved – now I just need to work on the listening… I can ask a question, but have a hard time deciphering the rapid-fire answer!
I have gotten a lot of brightwork done while we were here as well. The exterior of our boat has a ridiculous amount of teak trim which requires constant maintenance to keep it looking yachty. I have a spreadsheet that I use to track the work, logging the date, the piece in question, and the product used. Every inch of teak gets at least one maintenance coat each year. It was a struggle to keep this up in the rainy northwest, but the nearly endless sunshine here allows provides ample opportunity.
While here we have met new friends as well as connected with old friends. We have attended Christmas concerts and parties, taken in the latest movies, and even had some unintended bus adventures. Our month-long stay is now at an end, but I have a feeling we will be back someday, for this is a special place. Tomorrow we will depart La Paz and make our way around to the east side of the cape where we will wait for a weather window to cross back over to the mainland. It’s a new year and new adventures await…